Blenderm you're right. Sorry for the 600-700 screw-up, I can only attribute to a typo.
1926 is right about chill-filtering. I said 1930s because the process was stopped, played with a little in the 30's and took some time before more widespread use and general acceptance, with both being realized in the 1960-70s. A similar idea could be said about Aeneas Coffey's 1830 patenting of his column still in Ireland - the concept and design was not far from Robert Stein's of a couple years earlier in Scotland - though Coffey generally gets the credit. It's only been 20 or so years that the promotion of chill-filtering in beer production has been promoted to consumers in adverts as being beneficial (something they should be making their buying decisions on), and "dry" and "ice" beers fall into the same situation.
I don't find American drinkers demand much - they generally don't know enough about the products to know what to demand so the producers and industry don't usually listen to them. Not that there aren't examples of industry listening to consumers (it took the U.S. nearly a decade to get out of Vietnam after the start of widespread dissenting protest). Today, perhaps the internet, blogs and forums such as this will have a bigger influence going forward. Lord knows something needs to have an impact beyond the "focus group" game.
American consumers generally drink what is provided. I know of no American drinker demanding bubble gum flavored vodka! But they'll drink it if someone comes up with the idea, makes it and is successful getting it to market. Unfortunately, someone has!! Thus, consumers may want a retailer to carry it because they want to try it, or have and, God forbid, like it.
But other than wanting a retailer to carry something, I don't believe the consumer's demands are often a part of why the industry develops production innovations - it is more someone in the industry addressing/improving something they think will result in something consumers will buy because it either results in a better product or eliminates what the people in the industry perceives is a problem to affect wider distribution, greater sales, and broader brand recognition.
I participated in some focus groups when I was in university (needed the money) and have seen products totally flop, as was my opinion in the focus group. Of course, some products are successful. How else to explain bubble gum vodka? I just don't see it as the industry listening but more like the industry forcing their will on unknowing consumers.
Cream liqueurs, for example, are subject to coagulating if kept too long and at too high of temperature. Plus, the cream can actually go rancid. Mass brands therefore use powdered dairy products to prevent this from happening. Thus, there is a market for making and selling real cream liqueurs to consumers who are actually looking for better creams, but this narrow market also need the education of why it's important to keep these creams cool, to drink them up, and not leave them sitting open in their liquor cabinet for 10 years.
Bailey's could never be what it is today if they were using fresh cream. And if consumers could taste a real cream Bailey's versus today's mass produced Bailey's, I cannot imagine a majority of drinkers would find today's bottling better than the real cream version. Even if they did, I don't think they'd be demanding that all real creams in the market start using powdered dairy.
Producers are often looking for ways to improve their products and the perceptions of them so as to reach a larger audience, sure. In my opinion, chill-filtration is an example of this, and its mass use, was to affect removal of the cloud that can happen when a liquor (not just Scotch) is chilled. This is revered in absinthe but not in whisky? It's a matter of image.
Being a lot of Americans drank their Scotch over ice (which was unusual to the rest of the world), and being unknowing to why some Scotch would throw milky character, the industry sought to eliminate this - not the consumer demanding it.
In my opinion, the industry (especially a lot of the big companies and brands) actually disregard the consumer. They come up with something that allows them to remove what they see is a problem for a continued mass distribution and growth of the brand, even if the process may diminish some the quality of the product. If they regarded the consumer, rather than come up with a new process and possibly diminish their product, they could instead embark on program of consumer education which would eliminate the need for the process. Of course, it means they have to continually be educating each generation of drinkers where once the process is implemented there is not the need for an ongoing education strategy. Thus, it's less costly to chill-filter than run continued educational campaigns, and industry/brand profit is usually the driving factor.
It took some years for Cognac stocks to diminish, as there was stock in warehouse, and there was still some production occuring while while replanting and eradication was taking place. Your right that color use took a while to cross the pond, but also by the mid 1890s Cognac was back to pretty solid production and a means of making young stock look older was coloring - and blended whiskies seem to have followed this trend to try and continue to keep the whisky business strong in its new markets in efforts to prevent a revert back to Cognac.
Besides Cyprus, there is also pre-phylloxera rootstock in Chile, of course via transplant, mainly in their carmenere.
I shouldn't have used the term "floaties." Thought about not doing so after I wrote it. In fact, I love it when I see sediments as it tends to be indicative of a less mass produced product/bottling. I drink a lot of single cask non chill-filtered whisky, so I see it a lot - as people might also find sediment in unfiltered wine. Sediments would have been a better word choice.
The Germans are known for their accuracy - which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing when it comes to labeling products we ingest. There is a camp of producers trying to make this happen in the U.S. with regards to wine - with Randall Graham of Bonny Doon greatly leading the charge.
Is it important for the consumer to know of different fining, filtering, clarification and coloring techniques? It is not really relevant for most people and their enjoyment of something. But perhaps egg white fining and uses of certain compounds should be noted, as you mentioned charcoal, on labels? Not that some don't already mention certain things - Jack Daniel's is "charcoal-mellowed." We know most people aren't going to read the label anyway. But for those of us who love this stuff and participate in forums like this, it would be worthwhile as we're generally trying to get more/better for our money.
From a professional perspective, I'd like it to have the information to use for demonstrative purposes to the differences between mass produced and handcrafted products, and I believe this allows an affecting consumer benefit. I think could help break the brand barriers a lot of consumers have - which is one reason the industry will fight it.